Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Politics of Slovakia

Slovakia's highest legislative body is the 150-seat unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic. Delegates are elected for 4-year terms on the basis of proportional representation. The Slovak political scene supports a wide spectrum of political parties, including several social democratic parties and the nationalistic Slovak National Party (SNS), but the influence of leftist and nationalist parties has declined in the past several years (the SNS is not in the parliament since 2002).

In January 1999, Parliament passed a constitutional amendment allowing for direct election of the president. Kosice Mayor Rudolf Schuster was elected president in a May 1999 run-off with former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar and took office on June 15, 1999. Virtually all executive powers of government belong to the prime minister, but the president does serve as commander in chief of the armed forces, can grant pardons, and has the right to return legislation to Parliament. Parliament, however, can override this veto with a simple majority of all 150 members of Parliament.

The country's highest appellate forum is the Supreme Court; below that are regional, district, and military courts. In certain cases the law provides for decisions of tribunals of judges to be attended by lay judges from the citizenry. Slovakia also has a special Constitutional Court, which rules on constitutional issues. The 13 members of this court are appointed by the president from a slate of candidates nominated by Parliament.

In 2002 Parliament passed legislation which created a Judicial Council. This 18-member council, composed of judges, law professors, and other legal experts, is now responsible for the nomination of judges. All judges except those of the Constitutional Court are appointed by the president from a list proposed by the Judicial Council. The Council also is responsible for appointing Disciplinary Senates in cases of judicial misconduct.

A current problem in Slovakia was that of allegations of human rights abuses against its Roma (Gypsy) population. Human rights groups have denounced a government practice of forcing Romani to move to segregated areas on the outskirts of cities, usually with poor housing conditions.

External links

Article from Christian Science Monitor about Roma segregation

Country name:
conventional long form: Slovak Republic
conventional short form: Slovakia
local long form: Slovenská republika
local short form: Slovensko

Data code: LO

Government type: parliamentary democracy

Capital: Bratislava

Administrative divisions: 8 regions (kraje, singular - kraj); Banskobystrický, Bratislavský, Košický, Nitriansky, Prešovský, Trenčiansky, Trnavský, Žilinský

Independence: 1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech and Slovak Republics)

National holiday: Independence Day, 1 January (1993); Slovak Constitution Day, 1 September (1992); Anniversary of Slovak National Uprising, 29 August (1944) and others

Constitution: ratified 1 September 1992, effective 1 October 1992 (some parts 1 January 1993); changed in September 1998 to allow direct election of the president

Legal system: civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; legal code modified to comply with the obligations of Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to expunge Marxist-Leninist legal theory

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Rudolf Schuster (since 15 June 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda (since 30 October 1998)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 30 May 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); note - following the National Council elections in September 1998, the Constitution was changed to allow direct election of the president; following National Council elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president
election results: Rudolf Schuster won the first direct popular election with 57% of the vote
note: government coalition 2002 - SDKU, KDH, SMK, ANO

Legislative branch: unicameral National Council of the Slovak Republic or Národná Rada Slovenskej Republiky (150 seats; members are elected on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held September 2002
election results:

election of 1998: HZDS 27%, SDK 26.3%, SDL 14.7%, SMK 9.1%, SNS 9.1%, SOP 8%; seats by party - governing coalition 93 (SDK 42, SDL 23, SMK 15, SOP 13), opposition 57 (HZDS 43, SNS 14))

election of 2002: ĽS-HZDS 19,50%, SDKÚ 15,09%, SMER 13,46% , SMK-MKP 11,16% , KDH 8,25% , ANO 8,01%, KSS 6,32%; seats by party - governing coalition 78 (SDKÚ 28, SMK 20, KDH 15, ANO 15), opposition 72 (LS-HZDS 36, SMER 25, KSS 11); note that (as of late September 2003) Ľudová únia split off from ĽS-HZDS shortly after the election, thus forming a new opposition party with 11 seats, and the coalition party ANO lost 3 deputies who become independent deputies (usually voting with the coalition however).

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are elected by the National Council; Constitutional Court, judges appointed by president from group of nominees approved by the parliament

Political parties and leaders: 2003-Christian Democratic Movement or KDH [Pavol HRUŠOVSKÝ, earlier Ján ČARNOGURSKÝ]; Democratic Party or DS [Ľudovít KANÍK](Mr. Kanik is a minister of the government by an agreement of the DS with the SDKU); (People's Party -) Movement for a Democratic Slovakia or (LS-)HZDS [Vladimír MEČIAR]; Party of the Hungarian Coalition or SMK(-MKP) [Béla BUGÁR]; Slovak Democratic and Christian Union or SDKU [Mikuláš DZURINDA]; Slovak Democratic Coalition or SDK in 1998 [Mikuláš DZURINDA]; Slovak National Party or SNS [Ján SLOTA, before 2003 temporarily Anna MALÍKOVÁ]; Direction or SMER [Róbert FICO]; Alliance of the New Citizen (the abbreviation ANO also meaning "yes") or ANO [Pavol RUSKO]; Communist Party of Slovakia or KSS [Jozef ŠEVC] ;Party of Civic Understanding or SOP [Pavol HAMŽÍK]; People's Union or Ludova unia [Vojtech TKÁČ]

Political pressure groups and leaders: 2002-NA Association of Employers of Slovakia; Association of Towns and Villages or ZMOS; Christian Social Union; Confederation of Trade Unions or KOZ; Metal Workers Unions or KOVO and METALURG; Party of Entrepreneurs and Businessmen of Slovakia

International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CCC, CE, CEI, CERN, COE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest),NATO (applicant), NSG, OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNTSO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red superimposed with the Slovak cross in a shield centered on the hoist side; the cross is white centered on a background of red and blue

See also : Slovakia